Malcolm Brogdon
(Matt Kryger)

Player Review 2022: Malcolm Brogdon

Age: 29
Years Pro: 6
Status: Signed contract extension last fall that runs through 2024-25 season.
Key Stats: Played in just 36 games, but led team in scoring average at 19.1 points per game and ranked second in assists (5.9). Also averaged 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from 3-point range.

Malcolm Brogdon had another productive season when he was on the court in 2021-22. The issue for him was the same one that plagued the Pacers on the whole — injuries.

Brogdon played in just 36 games in his third season in Indiana. He played well in those games, however, averaging 19.1 points per contest, the highest scoring average of any of the 28 players that suited up for the Blue & Gold this year.

He got off to a strong start to the season, tallying 28 points and 11 assists in the season opener at Charlotte. He averaged 23.4 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists over five games in October and continued to excel in early November, dropping 30 points in a win at Utah on Nov. 11 and then recording his first triple-double as a Pacer two nights later in a victory over Philadelphia.

All told, Brogdon suited up for 25 of Indiana's first 30 games and reached double figures in all of those contests. But he would take the court just 11 times over Indiana's final 52 contests.

He missed a Dec. 16 game with a sore right Achilles, then came back for the team's next game against Miami, only to exit after just eight minutes after reaggravating the injury. That — combined with a stint in the NBA's health and safety protocols — limited him to just two more games before the All-Star break.

Brogdon returned after the break to a very different team, as the roster was completely reshuffled at the trade deadline. He appeared in eight games in the second half of the year, willingly sliding off the ball to hand over the point guard reins to new teammate Tyrese Haliburton.

Again, Brogdon played well over that stretch. In his second game back, Brogdon tallied 20 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals to help Indiana knock off the Celtics. He was dominant in a March 2 overtime win in Orlando, racking up a season-high 31 points, 11 boards, and eight assists. And he made some big plays down the stretch to key a March 18 win in Houston, finishing with a team-high 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting.

Most encouragingly, Brogdon seemed to enjoy the experience of playing alongside Haliburton, even if it meant giving up some of his ballhandling duties. Because the 21-year-old guard is such a willing passer, Brogdon still had plenty of touches and looks to score, averaging 22.2 points per game in March.

"He's a great young talent, great young point guard," Brogdon said of his experience playing alongside Haliburton. "Super unselfish. He's the guy you want to play with. He's the guy that's going to help you win. I think the fit is great for me, for the organization. I'm excited to play with him."

Malcolm Brogdon

Photo Credit: Matt Kryger

If the Pacers were in playoff contention, Brogdon probably would have stayed on the floor for the final month. But with nothing to play for, Indiana effectively shut him down after March 18. The six-year veteran sat out the final 12 games of the season due to a combination of rest and back soreness. Brogdon said after the season ended that he felt good physically, they just wanted to ensure that he entered the offseason fully healthy.

It was a rough year for the Pacers all around, but it was clear that missing Brogdon for the majority of the campaign had a significant impact on Indiana's overall record. The Pacers were 14-22 (a .388 win percentage) in games that Brogdon played and just 11-35 (.239) without him. After the All-Star break, they were a respectable 3-5 in five contests with Brogdon and 2-12 in the games he sat out.

Playing for his third coach in three seasons in Indiana, Brogdon developed a good rapport with Rick Carlisle, a fellow University of Virginia alum. His overall numbers averages held steady from last season at 5.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest.

"We see eye-to-eye on a lot of things," Brogdon said. "He's very direct and blunt and I am, too. He's very communicative. To have a head coach like that that's open and honest and wanting to fill you in on everything that's going on so that you have the whole picture, that's ideal for a guy like me."

The one disappointment for Brogdon statistically was his 3-point percentage. After shooting over 40 percent in three seasons in Milwaukee, Brogdon saw his 3-point percentage dip down to .326 when he joined the Pacers in 2019-20. He bumped that back up to .382 last season, but it suffered another significant drop-off this year, as he made a career-low 31.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Some of that may be simply attributable to the small sample size of not playing a full season, but it's clearly a number below the standard Brogdon has set for himself.

Brogdon signed a contract extension ahead of last season that keeps him under contract for three additional years. The direction of the Pacers' franchise has significantly changed since that time, however, with the team dealing off several veterans and building around a young core headlined by Haliburton and likely the team's top-10 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

In his exit interview with media following the end of the season, Brogdon was honest in acknowledging the possibility that he could be traded this summer if the organization opts to continue getting younger. But he also was clear that he would love to stay and take on a mentorship role with Haliburton and the rest of the team's young core.

"I want to be here. I feel like I've built a home here. They've paid me here and extended me here. And I fit. I like Carlisle a lot, I like the coaching staff, and I love my teammates."

2022 Player Review Schedule

April 18: Tyrese Haliburton
April 19: Buddy Hield
April 20: Chris Duarte
April 21: Isaiah Jackson
April 22: Oshae Brissett
April 23: Malcolm Brogdon
April 24: Goga Bitadze
April 25: Myles Turner
April 26: Duane Washington Jr.
April 27: T.J. McConnell
April 28: Jalen Smith
April 29: Lance Stephenson
April 30: Terry Taylor